cover image Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

Elizabeth Gilbert, , read by the author. . Penguin Audio, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-14-314575-2

Gilbert's sequel to the megabestselling Eat, Pray, Love is a serious, sincere, yet ultimately tedious slog of a listen. Debating whether or not to marry her boyfriend, the author embarks on a one-year study of marriage's evolution, cultural variations, pitfalls, and pleasures. It's earnest and heartfelt, but there's no story. Gilbert's encapsulations of her research cannot sustain the reader's interest, and her forays into amateur anthropology in Southeast Asia are crude and uncharitable: she vacillates between tropes of the happy savage and crowing that the Hmong women she interviews will never know her level of education, health, and agency. But these considerable flaws belong to the material alone; Gilbert's reading is unimpeachable. Her voice is low, warm, slightly hoarse; her attitude is confiding and self-deprecating, and her charm does much in making the book's less palatable sections go down easily. A Viking hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 23). (Jan.)